Pumkpins

I just saw an advertisement for pumpkin spice pizza. Things are officially out of hand.

Pumpkin pie spice — a modest but delicious blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice and cloves — first came out in the 1950s, because people back then still did their own cooking, and also pumpkin by itself tastes really nasty.

Then, in 2003, Starbucks put pumpkin spice in a latte, and from there it grew and grew until it became as ridiculously overblown as its big sisters, Posh Spice and Scary Spice.

I went to the grocery store last week and loaded up on pumpkin spice products. It was 80 degrees outside and I was wearing sandals, but I was determined to celebrate the taste of fall.

I came home with pumpkin spice cereals, pumpkin spice donut holes, pumpkin spice granola bars, pumpkin spice tea, pumpkin spice candies, pumpkin spice ice cream. Twenty things in all.

And then I sat down and tried them all.

I started my day off right with pumpkin spice instant oatmeal. I usually top my oatmeal with fresh fruit, but I couldn’t think of a fruit that goes with pumpkin. Instead I put some pecans on top, thinking two pie flavors would be better than one. I was wrong.

The pumpkin spice Frosted Mini Wheats didn’t taste like pumpkin OR spice, but they did turn my milk orange.

The pumpkin spice Cheerios were pretty good, perhaps because they were one of the few products actually made with pumpkin. Some of the others contained “pumpkin powder” or “pumpkin flakes,” but I’m not sure that should count.

I had high hopes for the pumpkin pie Pop-Tarts. After all, a Pop-Tart is a little pie. But you know what you don’t find on a pumpkin pie? Frosting. Frosting with orange, yellow and brown sprinkles.

I also had high hopes for the pumpkin spice Oreos. I had to go to two stores to find those. They were golden Oreo cookies with a dark orange filling that didn’t taste anything like pumpkin. Or cinnamon. Or nutmeg. I checked the ingredient label and found one spice: “Paprika (for color).”

The Pepperidge Farm pumpkin spice cookies were a disgrace to the Milano name.

The Lindt pumpkin spice chocolate truffles and the Ghirardelli pumpkin spice caramel chocolate squares were a waste of perfectly good chocolate.

The pumpkin spice Hershey Kisses were not bad, although they looked like giant blobs of self-tanning lotion.

The Kraft pumpkin spice marshmallows didn’t even try to be orange, opting instead for light brown.

The worst, though, were the pumpkin pie M&Ms, which came in three shades: orange, wood and dirty undershirt. I didn’t know I was capable of spitting out an M&M.

The only remotely healthy thing I tried was Chobani pumpkin spice yogurt, flavored with pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg and a refreshing dose of lemon juice. I’d eat it again. Just not for a very long time.

Lisa Davis is Features Editor of The Anniston Star. Contact her at 256-235-3555 or ldavis@annistonstar.com.

Features Editor Lisa Davis: 256-235-3555.

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